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Odds They’ll Get In: 94.4
Biggest Advantage in the Race: Playoff Race Experience
The Senators played well at the end of last season to secure the eighth and final playoff spot even though they were picked by many experts to finish near the bottom of the East standings. This was a good learning experience for many of the Senators' young players, many of whom had never been in a late-season playoff race.
Despite all of the injuries to key players that Ottawa has dealt with this season, this team still has several veterans (such as captain Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Neil and Chris Phillips) who know what it takes to win games late in the regular season. Their experience will have a positive impact on this team.
If reigning Norris trophy winner Erik Karlsson returns to the lineup after missing two months with an Achilles injury, the Senators' chances of making the playoffs will improve quite a bit. The young star led all defensemen with 78 points last season and skated with the team on Friday (per the team). He could be in the lineup Thursday night against the Capitals.
Biggest Disadvantage in the Race: Tough Schedule/Small Amount of Rest
The Senators have lost two straight and will have to play three games in four days to end the season. Fatigue may become a factor for Ottawa this week, who will end the year with seven games in 12 days. Another concern about the remaining schedule is the quality of competition that the Senators will face.
|Date ||Opponent ||Notes
|April 25 ||at Washington Capitals ||
This is a huge game for both teams. The winner of this matchup will significantly increase its chances of making the playoffs since both of these clubs have 52 points in the standings. Ottawa is 2-0 against Washington this season, including a 3-1 victory over the Capitals last Thursday.
|April 27 ||vs. Philadelphia Flyers ||The Flyers won't make the playoffs but they have won three of their last four games. Philadelphia has a ton of talent and will play hard for the rest of the season, so this won't be an easy game for Ottawa.
|April 28 ||at Boston Bruins ||The Senators are 0-2-2 against the Bruins this season. With Boston still fighting for the Northeast Division title, this will likely be an important game for the Bruins.
Prediction: 8th in East, 4th in Northeast